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June 6, 2012

BP Unfiltered

The Left Fielder with Nothing to Lose

by Ben Lindbergh

Brace yourself for a controversial opinion: umpires have, on occasion, been known to make mistakes. Hey, don't look at me. It's not my ​opinion. But it is Mets left fielder Vinny Rottino's opinion, we can only assume, because he tried to make an umpire err last night.

In the 12th inning of last night's messy Mets-Nationals game, with two outs and the bases loaded, Bryce Harper lined what looked to every person in the ballpark like a walk-off single. Rottino, who clearly failed to catch the ball and whose team was now the losing one, was undeterred.

If this

can be a force out, Rottino thought, then surely this

can be a game-saving catch.

The ball landed a few feet in front of Rottino, and it bounced before he gloved it. This wasn't one of those traps that requires a replay. This was one of those traps where you turn off the TV if you wanted the Mets to win.

A lesser left fielder would have gotten up and trotted back to the dugout like everyone else. But then the game would have been over. Rottino wasn't willing to accept that.

Rottino: I caught it
Rottino: I caught the ball
Rottino: It didn't even bounce first
Rottino: What a Web Gem
Rottino: Guess we're going to the 13th
Rottino: Man what a game
Rottino: I think Ike Davis is up now
Umpire: /Makes correct call

This is the moment when Rottino's face falls as he realizes he's not a good enough actor to alter the course of history:

And this is the moment when he studiously looks away from the umpire he just tried to dupe into making an embarrassing mistake:

Rottino is that kid who tried to claim he didn't get hit by the dodgeball and wasn't actually out when everyone knew he did and he was. You hated that kid when he wasn't on your team, but maybe you sort of admired him when he was. It's a form of want, even if it's not entirely ethical. And until we have replay review, you want your left fielder at least to try ​to make a mockery of the game if it might lead to a win.

​Watch Rottino's failed attempt to extend the game here.

Ben Lindbergh is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Ben's other articles. You can contact Ben by clicking here

Related Content:  Bryce Harper,  Umpires,  Vinny Rottino

6 comments have been left for this article.

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